HOUSTON – Nearly 100 vehicles decorated with streamers, balloons and Census messaging filed out of the parking lot of the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center Saturday in a caravan, led by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, encouraging people to self-respond to the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau has been using the car caravans as a way to continue to promote the Census, while practicing social distancing and public safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mission is to help get the word out to the “hard-to-count” communities, which are at risk of losing much-needed federal funding if there is an undercount.

“Whether the person is one day old or 110 years old, it is important to respond to the Census. Documented or undocumented, if you are a living person in this city, regardless of where you come from, your religion, your language, your status, please fill out the Census,” Turner said at a briefing before the start of the event. “It’s about representation and resources. It’s about having the dollars that we need to combat a pandemic, like the one that we are in. It takes about three to five minutes to do it, please fill out your census forms.”

The 2020 Census impacts how billions of dollars in federal funding for states, cities and local communities are distributed.

“We are in the heart of one of the most historic neighborhoods in Houston. The colleagues that represented this area – the honorable Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland who preceded me, this was their home.,” the congresswoman said. “The Census is about saying that you are valued, but more importantly, it is returning to you the dollars that you need for the educating of our children, for the many senior citizens that need social security and Medicare, for improving the environment, for providing city services and for housing. Census is about life and quality of life.”

For more information on how to respond, please visit 2020census.gov.